Sprint Retrospective: The Complete Guide


Sprint Retrospective: The Complete Guide


Sprint retrospective is an essential component in scrum project management. If executed correctly, they can aid teams in improving their processes for the next sprint and produce more results in a shorter amount of time. If they are not done correctly, it can lead to conflict between teams and waste resources.

In this article, we’ll show how to master sprint retrospectives.

What is a sprint retrospective?

The term “sprint retrospective” refers to a Sprint retrospect looking back at the past work period. It is used to assess individual and team performance. Information obtained from a review of the sprint will inform the next sprint to be more effective than the previous one.

To better understand what a sprint retrospective is, we need to examine what each word means in its way.

  • The term “sprint” refers to a sprint in project management in a brief period duration (days and weeks). Each sprint is defined by a list of tasks assigned with a defined time frame. Sprints are employed in the Scrum framework for projects administration (an Agile framework) to break down larger sections into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  • A retrospective is an official analysis held to look back at prior work. Participants at this gathering examined what worked and what did not. The retrospectives help participants understand what they could do better for the future.

A sprint retrospective tries to optimize systems, eliminate potential stumbling obstacles, and stay on track to meet long-term objectives.

What’s the difference between a sprint retrospective and a sprint review?

The main distinction between a sprint review and a sprint retrospective is the end goal that each attempt to reach.

A sprint review is a way to reflect on what occurred during the project. The scope of sprint reviews is usually limited to team leaders and managers. The data gathered during a sprint review is distributed to other relevant people and stakeholders afterward.

A sprint retrospective serves to talk about how a particular sprint went, focusing on the process and workflow. The whole Scrum team participates in these meetings to give feedback from their boots on the ground. At the beginning of the next sprint, what is learned from an event will be put into practice.

What is a sprint retrospective meeting?

A sprint retrospective is an official meeting between Scrum team members and others to look through a previous sprint. In the course of the meeting, they develop a plan of action to implement the knowledge for the next sprint.

A sprint retrospective typically is held the day after the sprint has ended or after the sprint review. The objective is to ensure little or no time lag between the one and the following.

What happens during the sprint retrospective meeting?

A sprint retrospective is a conversation in which everyone is a part. But if you’re wondering about what is happening, you can find an agenda outline all organizers need to be aware of:

  • The tone should be set before the event. Retrospectives of print often transform into public forums. To prevent it from turning into an open for all employees review, ensure your team is focused on setting the right tone early. Here’s how:
  • Introduce yourself
  • Introductions assist the team, participants, and freelancers in understanding who’s in the room and what they are doing. Simply listing the name of everyone and their function in the project is sufficient.
  • Individual wins that stand out
  • Pick one thing you want to highlight about every person in the last sprint. If the list is extensive, make sure you share it with the project management system so that everyone can see it.
  • Maintain a positive attitude
  • Being confident, strongly positive, and optimistic toward the gathering at the beginning of the meeting encourages others to follow suit regardless of the day they’ve been having. The host should be encouraged to welcome each person as they enter the room in the physical or virtual sense.

How it works

Review the goals for the gathering, the topics expected to be discussed, and when you’ll conclude the meeting. If you have a speech schedule, communicate that before the meeting.

Structure Feedback 

The most important thing you should remember about retrospectives of sprints is that they’re meant to examine your team’s process and not the employees. The idea of dividing people is not helpful here. Instead, frame the issue as a collective concern and treat them as such regardless of whether the responsible party must figure out a solution.

Take it a step further and clarify how you’d like feedback to keep the discussion focused. Here’s a formula for effective feedback for retrospectives in sprints:

  • The most important victory
  • The most difficult obstacle
  • Relevant question or request

Feedback can be provided in a round-robin style for teams with smaller numbers. If your team exceeds 10 participants, you can ask for speakers in advance and then make space for any additional remarks at the end of the meeting.

Are you struggling to convince participants? Reduce the discussion to a straightforward question: What’s your zero-nuance opinion on how the race was in one sentence?

Keep an eye on the time.

In a 45-minute session, Teams should be allocated:

  • Five minutes for introductions and agenda review
  • 30 minutes of evenly split speaking time
  • 10 minutes to develop the list of actions to take in the order of priority and an execution plan for each step.

Sprint retrospectives are intended to be productive, but not all issues can be addressed entirely within the given timeframe. What is the solution?

Brainstorm a list of all issues, then as a group, place them in order from the most influential to the least.

Determine how many participants you’ll be able to cover during the meeting. Anything that isn’t addressed when the meeting is done will be set aside until the following sprint. If these issues arise again, make sure they are first on the agenda this time. Re-run the rinse and do it again.

A designated timekeeper is comfortable interrupting thoughts and brings the group back to unity after diverging ideas.

Pro tip: Have a team member with the longest wind to do the job. They’ll be acutely aware of how long they’ll have to write down their ideas.

Review the report

The majority of sprint retrospectives are informal. However, the mere fact of opinions will not always lead to better results in any sprint. Facts should back up every decision or statement. You can:

  • Source information checks out Gantt charts to identify bottlenecks.
  • Check out conversations that occurred within the delay or unsuccessful assignments to understand the way each obstacle was dealt with

The reports from the sprint with everyone at the meeting in advance so that they are prepared for questions. In the event of notifying your team members of the meeting, you should give them at least two or three main points you can think about to help keep them focused.

A few great report-related questions you can inquire about include:

  • Was anything unexpected happening during this race? What was the process for dealing with roadblocks? Would you adopt the same route next time?
  • What deadlines were achieved? What steps can we take to duplicate the same success in the future?
  • Did resources get distributed in a way that best assists the team? are there adjustments to be made as the team progresses?

Include links to documents with the invitation to your meeting for attendees to reference on the day.

Turn ideas into action.

After the meeting has ended, make at minimum one tangible thing you learned from the sprint that you knew details like:

  • What was the issue?
  • What impact did it have on the project?
  • What are the tasks that will be assigned to ensure that it doesn’t happen the same way
  • Who is responsible for finalizing and approving the tasks or assignments?
  • Each task has to be completed
  • What will your team know about whether or not an action phase was successful will be determined in the following sprint

At the next sprint retrospective meeting, you will briefly review your actions to solve past issues. Be honest about whether the problems were addressed or if they need to be revisited.

Here are some suggestions to help you in creating efficient next steps following the sprint retrospective:

  • Allow team members to ask questions regarding the actions before the meeting is over.
  • Be sure that every action is in line with the S.M.A.R.T goals structure.
  • All tasks that are related in your PM software immediately, so that no tasks are lost in the event of a sprint that is not completed.

What are the advantages of sprint retrospective meetings?


There are many benefits to sprint retrospective meetings, but these are some of our top picks:

  • Improved team communication and feedback
  • The discovery of new opportunities for success in the next phase
  • Recognition of victories and improving the morale of the team
  • The gathering of all project participants for regular check-ins
  • Reverting to the larger-picture goals and aligning them with day-to-day activities
  • Making mistakes from the past and transforming them into improvement.
  • This will make the process more productive for all parties that are
  • Establishing better connections as a group and with clients or stakeholders.
  • Increased opportunities for creativity
  • Promoting collaboration among team members who may not meet regularly.

What is the length of a sprint retrospective?

The length of time a sprint retrospective meeting lasts depends on how long the actual sprint was. The size of your team and complexity will also play a role. The usual duration for the sprint retrospective is between 45 minutes and two hours.

Sprint retrospective meetings generally can last for as long as three hours following the duration of a month-long sprint. If you’re unsure how long yours should run, the math will work out to 45 minutes every week in a sprint (based on the examples). If your sprint was less than 7 days long, you should schedule the meeting for at least 45 minutes in case of need.

When should a sprint retrospective meeting be scheduled?

Here’s the sequence in which all significant sprints take place:

The next sprint starts right after, and then the cycle repeats itself.

As you can see, a retrospective sprint is best held directly immediately following the sprint review or within one or two days of finishing all other sprint-related tasks. 

Who runs sprint retrospectives meetings?

The Product Owner and Scrum Masters run the meeting retrospectives of sprints. However, project managers might prefer to be in charge as they can provide a less harmful view of the overall process.

What are the questions to be asked in a Sprint retrospective meeting?

Make sure you address the three areas in your next sprint retrospective meeting:


  • What was the best part, and why?
  • How can we duplicate this kind of success in the following sprint?
  • What could have been done differently? Why would you have preferred a different outcome?
  • Can this problem be avoided by adjusting the process?
  • How can we simplify and streamline our process to be more straightforward?
  • Are there redundancies in our jobs that we should keep an eye on?
  • Do we have everyone fully aware of our procedure?


  • Did you encounter any bottlenecks in your work?
  • What caused the bottlenecks?
  • Can we adjust our processes to reduce bottlenecks during future sprints?
  • Were our original time estimates accurate?
  • What do we know regarding our timeline since it is actually in motion?
  • Do we have to complete the task of catching up on the last time in the following sprint? What should we do to accomplish this?


  • Are our budgets in line?
  • Did you notice an oversupply or a shortage of materials for your project?
  • Are we going to require more or fewer resources for this next sprint?
  • Is there a way in which we could reduce the use of critical resources over the next time?
  • Do we require additional resources in this sprint?
  • Did the work get distributed equally?

Tip Use Scrum Software and Tools to check the work of your entire team when you assign tasks.

Is it the mad sad glad retrospective?

Mad Sad Glad Retrospective is a method to gather data during the sprint retrospective ceremony that is the end that concludes Scrum procedure. The sprint retrospective is when the Scrum team will review what transpired in the previous sprint to identify what could be improved for the next sprint.

The mad sad glad retro prompts every team member to think about the events during the previous sprint that made them feel angry or sad. They should also consider what made them feel sad or sadder and which factors of the events or elements made them feel happy or content.

What are the advantages of a mad sad glad Retrospective?

Scrum teams are generally close-knit groups that work closely and regularly evaluate their progress and improve their procedures. But that doesn’t mean they’re not susceptible to mistakes, oversights, and roadblocks that may hinder your development and suffer even from emotions of discontent, anger, or anger that can arise due to these circumstances.

Instead of bottling up these feelings in a closed jar and letting them grow into anger against colleagues.

The sad and glad retrospective allows Scrum teams to constructively express their disappointments and frustrations. The mad sad glad functions as a relief valve to allow the team to reach an agreement and then reset prior to starting the following sprint.

In another way, the mad glad framework lets Scrum group members have the ability to speak freely in a safe and structured environment. 

Consider it as an actual group psychotherapy session for the team members. As your role as the scrum master (or team member) leading your group, you’re taking on the role of therapist.

How do you run a mad sad glad retrospective?

Running a mad sad glad is quite simple. If you’re having a meeting in person, start by marking a whiteboard with three columns: Mad sad glad. Then, bring your team into the room for your meeting. If you’re conducting the retrospective on the internet, you can still use a whiteboard should you prefer or discuss every section.

Then, give your team members time to reflect on the last sprint. Ask them to note what caused them to feel angry, sad, or disappointed and the factors that make them feel good and content using sticky notepads. The events that cause anger and frustration would be classified under the Mad category, while disappointments go to the Sad column. Putting things into to be in the Glad category is also vital since it helps balance the workout and assists team members in not focusing solely on the negativity.

After everyone has recorded their thoughts, let participants place their sticky notes on the appropriate column on the whiteboard. If the meeting is in a virtual space, you might consider using an online document or task on Scrum Software that everybody can access.

Then, go through the notes to discover common themes. They will in guiding the discussion. The discussion part during retro Retro occurs when the rubber hits the ground. While not pointing fingers or assigning blame, talk about how the circumstances that caused feelings of sadness or anger can be avoided in future sprints. Also, you should discuss the events that triggered feelings of joy and how to incorporate these into future sprints.

Mad sad glad retrospective examples

How exactly can you create you describe a sad, happy appearance? Here are some examples:


  • Daily Scrums did not start at the correct time
  • In the process of waiting for a late deliverable
  • Too many meetings


  • Uncertain if my work is being valued
  • Inundated with support tickets
  • High volume of churn between team members


  • Management has received positive feedback on the most recent release or project results
  • Teamwork within the group
  • Completed a project ahead of the deadline

What is the outcome of a mad sad glad retrospective?

The main goal of any sprint retrospective is to improve the next sprints. The outcomes of a sad glad retro should result in actionable suggestions which can be implemented for the next sprint that the Scrum team is working on.

A successful mad sad glad retrospective demands the right environment where team members can talk about their emotions freely and honestly. While it can be challenging to come to terms with, discussing these issues can result in more cohesive teams and increase the feeling of unity.

Sprint retrospectives are more than a mere meeting. And they’re a powerful productivity tool that Scrum teams can leverage to improve their projects. Retrospectives for sprints are beneficial for teams; however, they’re also an essential part of the process as a whole.

To make the most of any retrospective sprint, you’ll need tools for managing projects. Check out the Top 10 best Scrum software and tools to design the next successful sprint retrospective.

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